Lot 125: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939). [JUDGEMENT OF PARIS.] Calendar holder. 1895. 24x18 inches, 61x46 cm. [Vieillemard & Ses Filles, Paris.]

Swann Auction Galleries

January 26, 2017
New York, NY, US

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Description: ALPHONSE MUCHA (1860-1939) [JUDGEMENT OF PARIS.] Calendar holder. 1895.
24 1/4x18 3/8 inches, 61 1/2x46 3/4 cm. [Vieillemard & Ses Filles, Paris.]
Condition B+: repaired tears and overpainting at edges; creases and restoration at edges and in image; tipped to mat. Missing calendar scrolls. Printed on cardboard. Matted and framed. Unexamined out of frame.
Mucha was a talented draughtsman who spent his early career in Paris making book illustrations for historical books, which were far more classical in style than the posters with which he rose to fame. It was most likely due to his academic work that Vieillemard hired him to design the frame for their perpetual calendar. The image presents the mythical scene of Paris presenting an apple to Aphrodite, thereby choosing her as the most beautiful of the three goddesses. "What makes this rare calendar unusual is the transition it represents from Mucha the book illustrator - seen in the central image - to Mucha the graphic artist - seen in the strong, ornate borders, with their repetitious, colorful embellishments and the interesting use of a Greek frieze to convey the printer''s message" (Lendl p. 163). The calendar operated via three paper strips which would be run through the open mouths of the theatrical masks at the bottom, displaying the numerical date, day of the week and month, which could be changed by pulling down the strips, which are missing on this example. rare. We have found only two other copies at auction since 1987. Rennert / Weill 5, Mucha / Henderson 134, Mucha / Bridges C2, Lendl p. 163, Spirit of Art Nouveau 2 (var).
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